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Album Review

Along with Stoned Soul Picnic, this may very well be the 5th Dimension's finest album. Home to one of their finest singles ever — the Bacharach/David "One Less Bell to Answer," on which Marilyn McCoo gives the vocal performance of her career — the record also contains the surprisingly funky and rocking "Puppet Man." Some great covers also include Dave Mason's "Feelin' Alright," Jimmy Webb's gorgeous "This Is Your Life," and Laura Nyro's anthemic "Save the Country." This vibe is echoed by the album's centerpiece, a medley of "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "People Gotta Be Free" preceded by "The Declaration." It's an ambitious suite, yet one that works well; it provides a great marriage between the group's pop leanings and the counterculture of the late '60s. Progressive, yet still encapsulating, which is the 5th Dimension's sunny appeal, Portrait is a minor masterpiece. Famed expressionist artist Leroy Neiman's appropriate cover and liner paintings are the icing on the cake.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Fifth Dimension's unique sound lay somewhere between smooth, elegant soul and straightforward, adult-oriented pop, often with a distinct flower-power vibe. Although they appealed more to mainstream listeners than to a hip, hardcore R&B audience, they had a definite ear for contemporary trends; their selection of material helped kickstart the notable songwriting careers of Jimmy Webb and Laura Nyro, and their biggest hit was a medley from the hippie musical Hair, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine...
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Portrait, The 5th Dimension
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